For over 30 years, the Internal Revenue Service and AARP have sponsored the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, which provides free counseling and preparation of tax returns for senior citizens.
Beginning this week, in conjunction with the Cattaraugus County Dept. of the Aging/NY Connects, volunteers will be available to assist county seniors with their taxes. The primary mission of the program is to help those ages 50 and older, but no one is ever turned away because of age. Tax volunteers are trained to handle most routine situations, but clients with rental income, business income with depreciation, or foreign investment are advised to see a tax professional.
Cattaraugus and Salamanca area residents should call Don or Allison Girod at (716) 257-3285 for an appointment at one of the following locations:
Cattaraugus Free Library, Cattaraugus— Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through April 15.
Public Library, Salamanca— Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through April 9.
Olean area residents should call the Olean Senior Center at (716) 376-5670 for an appointment. The schedule will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m., starting Feb. 3.
The volunteers will ask you a few questions to determine whether or not they can handle your return.
If so, you will need to bring the following to your appointment: all statements of income, any type of 1099 forms (from Social Security, banks, brokers and pension funds, and others) and any W-2 forms. It is also helpful to bring last year’s tax returns and a record of property taxes paid in 2013. If you sold stock, please bring all of the details, especially when you bought it and how much you paid for it. A photo ID is also required. New for this year: You must bring proof of health insurance, which is usually a Medicare card or insurance card. However, if you purchased insurance through an insurance exchange, the volunteers will need to know the details of what you purchased and when. Your return will be prepared using a computer and online tax software, and the volunteers will be e-filing most returns.
A $200 state credit for volunteer fire company members is available, even if you would not otherwise file a tax return.
For more information on the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, or to inquire about any other programs available to Cattaraugus County seniors, please call the Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging/NY Connects at (716) 373-8032 or (800) 462-2901.